Our readers talk back.
Aborted Fetuses = Dead KittensDear Editor,
For a publication that I'm sure would not hesitate to vilify pro-lifer's holding up disgusting giant photos of aborted fetuses, I'm surprised to see you resort to their reactionary tactics. The cover of this week's Chronicle is fucking gross ["What Happened to the No-Kill Millennium?," News, Nov. 18]. I like little kitties as much as you do, and hate to see them euthanized in such large numbers, but frankly you could have made your point without grouping yourselves in with people whose tactics are widely regarded as vile and disgusting.
Mike "Dub" Wainwright[Editor's note: The Chronicle has received many letters regarding this article. They're posted online at austinchronicle.com/postmarks.]
Never Have a Similar CoverDear Editor,
Re: Your horrible cover this week ["What Happened to the No-Kill Millennium?," News, Nov. 18]. Do not ever do this again! I care very much about the fact that there are way too many kitties being euthanized because they have no homes.
But you have visually assaulted me with your cover. I have torn it off and I refuse to look at it.
This sort of stuff belongs inside. You wouldn't put pictures of aborted babies or blown-apart soldiers on the front cover, would you?
Have a heart and think next time. I am absolutely appalled at your insensitivity this week.
Susan J. Strobel
Cover Photo Way Over the TopDear Editor,
I love the Chronicle and I'm all for striking photos on the cover, but this week's photo is way over the top ["What Happened to the No-Kill Millennium?," News, Nov. 18]. It literally made me sick. As someone who does already rescue cats from Town Lake, I understand the importance of causing strong emotions in people in order for them to take action and cause change, but this is too much. I cannot believe these pictures were printed and distributed all over town. As someone in the advertising arena I'd recommend using illustrations or something in the future because at this point I won't be supporting the Chronicle for some time. I'm turned off and physically ill!
Don't Shoot the MessengerDear Editor,
I don't find fault in publishing a snapshot of something that occurs ["What Happened to the No-Kill Millennium?," News, Nov. 18]. This destruction receives our collective blessing, whether we want to admit it or not.
What I find more troubling are the reactions from your readers ["Postmarks"]. C'mon, folks, don't shoot the messenger for providing the message in full color.
Rene L. Valadez
Spay AustinDear Editor,
I would like to thank you from the bottom of my heart for this week's cover story by Rachel Proctor May ["What Happened to the No-Kill Millennium?," News, Nov. 18]. This took courage and spark, and your entire publication is the better for it. If anyone could pull off this eye-opener it would be the Chronicle.
Thanks again, forever in your debt,
Ignorant ClownsDear Editor,
Re: The Klan rally and the APD: It would be interesting to know (although we never will) what the Chronicle's spin would have been had the city mounted a minimum effort around that rally and a riot had occurred ["Point Austin," News, Nov. 18]. Would Michael King have then berated the city for not being prepared to deal with what was an entirely predictable outcome? There used to be an adage that went, "Those who can do, while those who can't, teach." Perhaps we should change that to "Those who can do, while those who can't become reporters and kibitz about those trying to do." This sort of situation always brings out every unqualified observer on the planet, who then become self-anointed experts on exactly what the people who actually have the job should have done. Do you suppose it's anything like having some ignorant clown telling you how to do your job? Or are reporters immune from the fear of chicken snakes?
Most Wrong on TransportationDear Editor,
Many well-intentioned people, including most of the staff of the Chronicle, advised central Austinites to hold their nose and vote "yes" on the All Systems Go commuter rail plan, despite the fact that it goes nowhere near existing and proposed residential density, and nowhere near minor employment centers like the University of Texas or the Capitol Complex (to say nothing of most of downtown) [Endorsements, Nov. 4]. In fact, the pro-rail-transit but anti-stupid-rail position fell all the way down to me, whose sole qualification was serving on the UTC for a few years. I was attacked quite viciously for daring to suggest that perhaps the right response was to vote "no," as in "No, this isn't the right rail plan; come back with something like the 2000 plan, scaled back to get us over the top."
Well, now, the other shoe has dropped. The Future Connections Study, on which those credulous folks based their hopes for adding back rail for central Austin, has released their draft technology review, which has now ruled out any mode requiring a reserved guideway. Meaning: no light rail, no bus rapid transit. You get either a shuttle bus or a streetcar; but either way you're going to be stuck in the same traffic you would be if you just drove.
More on my blog at: mdahmus.thebaba.com/blog.
The majority of the pro-transit establishment owes Austin an immediate apology for being part of this snow job.
Questions UnexaminedDear Editor:
I must commend you on the article that was published in the Nov. 4 issue concerning the Brandon Threet/Terence McArdle case ["Justice or Vengeance?," News, Nov. 4]. I have known Brandon for nearly six years now. I keep up with his case and his life through his mother and friends. I thought the article gave a very fair and open-minded account of the tragedy itself and of the lingering questions that haunt this ongoing nightmare. I sincerely hope the article will open some new avenues for the investigation of the trial and its punishment phase and will shed a new light for the fair and open examination of all the aspects pertaining to this case. The question that begs to be answered here is not guilt or innocence. The question that begs for an answer is ... did the punishment for the crime fit the circumstances of the case given all the questions left unexamined? Your honest and detailed reporting may just aid in bringing many of these unexamined questions to the forefront. Thank you for that.
Missouri City[Editor's note: The Chronicle has received many letters regarding this article. They're posted online at austinchronicle.com/postmarks.]
You Dirty Smokers!Dear Editor,
Of course, all you dirty smokers whining about not being able to hot box your cancerous miasma in confined public spaces won't see it this way, but secondhand smoke really is bad news (see WebMD article at www.webmd.com/content/Article/115/111726.htm). Back in my bar-working days, I didn't smoke but would still hack up emphysemaesque phlegm balls after a night of bartending. This new Japanese research makes me wonder how soon I'm going to die because of you dirty smokers. Thanks for nothing, and thanks to the decent people of Austin for voting to make Downtown enjoyable. I've spent more money Downtown since the smoking ban went into effect than I think I have in seven years of living here. (And here's a hearty big middle finger to the bars that could never seem to care enough about their own employees and nonsmoking customers to install air-exchange systems ... maybe I should sue my old employers?)
Police Officers Always GuiltyDear Editor,
APD rank and file have been escalating out of control for years now. Hopefully the fitting discipline given to the officers responsible for the death of Daniel Rocha (as opposed to that given to Scott Glasgow, who took the life of Jesse Owens) will help rein in the whole force ["'Leak' on Recommendation to Fire Officer Prompts Complaint From Police Union," News, Nov. 18]. The police union's call for Chief Stan Knee's firing is indicative of the skewed perception these officers have of our city and its people. Chief Knee is accountable to the city of Austin, and the officers are accountable to him. We owe the officers nothing but the paychecks they've earned working their shifts. If they don't like their boss, they should look for another job just like anyone else. How confused the police union must be if they think the people of Austin and its elected and appointed representatives are accountable to them!
Rick Chafey[Louis Black responds: The liberal/progressive tendency toward if not actually forgiving then at least understanding almost anyone's trespasses against the common good (especially minorities) while a priori knowing that the police are always guilty of whatever they are accused and deserve to be punished to the extreme is one of those acrobatic ideological performances that leaves the less than absolutely certain of us somewhat stunned.]
Die, "Chronicle,' Die!Dear Editor,
The many reasons ...
For putting dead cats on your cover ["What Happened to the No-Kill Millennium?," News, Nov. 18]! That's not "edgy" or "in-your-face" journalism, that's just shit, which echoes what you are: shit.
For your shitty music coverage! Does being a white boy blues or rockabilly or generic mall punk band merit any artistic validity or coverage? We're not all sheep! Some of us have taste.
- For promoting the mediocre and mundane and ignoring what is really worth covering.
- For being whores to whomever gives you money and blindly supporting them, and saying to hell with anything else, and for all the other reasons I have written you hate letters. Which I won't relist, the only redeeming factor about the Chronicle is that you print these. Die.
I really hate you,
Jason Christian[Editor's note: Jason, thanks for your thoughtful critque and well-reasoned objections. It's the kind of response that makes all the work involved in putting out this publication worthwhile.]
Errors in Minutemen PieceDear Editor,
I'm dismayed about some of the historical errors printed in this article ["This Ain't No Picnic: Minutemen on Patrol," News, Oct. 28]. First and foremost is that Texas and the other border states were part of the politically correct mythical Aztlan. I believe that the Comanches, Lipan, and other tribes might have something to say about some Meso-Americans coming into their lands and claiming ownership. The Texas Rangers were vigilantes? Weren't they paid by the republic and then the state of Texas to stop predatory raids? I won't argue that there were Rangers who committed crimes against Tejanos on this side of the Rio Grande. There is a border war going on now and most of the victims on this side are of Hispanic descent just like it was then. However this time, they are American citizens.
Carlos R. Garza
Thanks for Cover StoryDear Editor,
Thank you sooooo much for finally putting it down on paper, in print, for all the world to see ["What Happened to the No-Kill Millennium?," News, Nov. 18]. This is the truth that needs to be addressed, and focused on, and re-addressed. I know how hard it was for me to actually view a dog being injected and how scared that poor animal must have been. Animals know no guile, own no original sin, and have no pride nor malice. Therefore, they are truly closer to angels than we humans, and it's time we started acting like the custodians we were meant to be. Thank you for putting this issue out there, and I certainly hope Austin will address ways, both punitive and educational, to eradicate our homeless pet population.
Criticism Is Fine, but ...Dear Editor,
It's obvious Darcie Stevens disliked the Bayta Darell CD ["Texas Platters," Music, Nov. 11]. That's fine, she is a critic. But the review is so inaccurate that you must wonder whether she only listened once or that maybe she disliked it so much that she knew exactly how to cheaply and maliciously discourage any curious listeners. By tossing out the word Christian, a word that always divides. And with comparisons to Depeche Mode and the Beach Boys, two dissimilar bands that in our current pop culture have become comical and lost credibility. The review seems intended to send people running. Is it that hard to point out what you don't like but pitch the CD to the people that might like it?
How she could find some kind of musical similarity to Depeche Mode is astonishing. There are no synths, electronic beats, pop songs, or a voice even slightly similar to Martin Gore or Dave Gahan. If you like Godspeed or Mogwai but wish that sometimes they had singing then you might like Bayta Darell. If you like Sigur Rós but wish you knew what they were saying then you might like this CD. If you like Radiohead, Mum, This Mortal Coil, or Low, you might like this CD. Darcie, the Beach Boys are not the only band to have prominent vocal harmonies. Remember the Beatles? Also, there is nothing overtly Christian in the words or music. The CD is as Christian as Achtung Baby or The Joshua Tree. The songs are open-ended and could easily address romantic concerns or spiritual concerns depending on the listener. Some type of knowledge and integrity should back reviews. By either being lazy or mean, Darcie has shortchanged a young and creative Austin band.
Disgusted With CoverDear Editor,
I am disgusted with your cover story this week ["What Happened to the No-Kill Millennium?," News, Nov. 18]. I am an avid reader and supporter of your publication, and recommend it to many of the people I come into contact with in and around the city. Also, an adopted cat owner and lover, I am certain that there are many other ways to convey your message to this warm and friendly city than to display carcasses of felines as your headline. Your publication is the soul of this lovely city, and it is a slap in the face to see a "shock value" photograph as a way to get across your point. As with other "in-your-face" filthy photos, I turn my head, ignore the protest, and keep walking.
Friend to the kitties,
The following statement that came out in the Nov. 11 "Naked City" [News] is incorrect:
"The City Council's Land Use and Transportation Subcommittee ... voted to recommend that council expand the boundaries of the convention center's transit-oriented development district to include all of downtown" Rachel Proctor May.
The correct information is that the subcommittee will discuss, and possibly vote on, whether or not to send the issue to the full council on Dec. 5. It has not been discussed by the subcommittee in the past.
Take Better Care of AnimalsDear Editor,
Thank you so much for shedding light on what remains an atrocious problem not only in Austin, but in all major cities in the country ["What Happened to the No-Kill Millennium?," News, Nov. 18]. Regardless of the debate over spaying vs. breeding issues, one thing I think we can all agree on is that education about the problem helps all of us. May's article hopefully will go a long way in pointing out that euthanasia, although an unappealing solution, is a necessary evil. We need to all work together and care for the animals in our community!
Cover Disturbing But TrueDear Editor,
I've read with interest all the howls and protests (pun intended) over the cover photo from this week's edition ["What Happened to the No-Kill Millennium?," News, Nov. 18].
It's a tough set of pictures to look at, but that's why it's good. I think that people hear the words "animals euthanized" at the center, they somehow think that the process is full of daisies and sunshine. Like, euthanasia is a term meaning that the little doggies and kittens are sent to a wonderful farm with a lifetime supply of doggie and kitty chow and no worries.
Euthanasia is what it is. It's awful to look at, but that's exactly why we need to see it. To see the result of our actions (or inactions) on the spay/neuter issue. If people spent as much time working on the issue as they do trying to avoid seeing it for what it really is, maybe we really could have a no-kill millennium.